Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy (almost) Friday!

Here's some Friday feel-good for y'all...

This just makes me smile.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Putting the "Disaster" In Disaster Capitalism

Yesterday, as I looked over articles on the aid efforts in Haiti, I wondered why it was so necessary for US Troops to be fully equipped with semiautomatics. This is a relief effort, not a war, right? I mean, it's no secret that I think our current system errs on the side of "shady", so of course I'm going to question the real motives in this situation. I'm coming to find that what's worse than the questioning is the disappointment in knowing that the questioning is merited.

Today, I came across "Profiting from Haiti’s Crisis: Disaster Capitalism in Washington’s Backyard" by Benjamin Dangl on If you're interested in this situation in Haiti and our part in it, I STRONGLY recommend reading this article. The first line (as many first lines so often do) paints a pretty clear picture...

Oh, Uncle "Money Bags" Sam, you never miss an opportunity, do you?

What we also have to keep in mind is that Haiti was in a dire state BEFORE this happened and when you do the math, it's pretty clear who held the cards in all that. The article continues...

Dangl quotes the author Naomi Kline:

Get THIS! Check out what Kline recently pointed out on Democracy Now! about the Heritage Foundation:

They eventually took that statement down, but it was there, as clear as day (as were their motives).

One of Dangl's final points hits the nail on the head:

That doesn't sound outrageous does it? Sounds like a completely logical statement, right? Wouldn't it be nice if that was the approach that won in the end? I'm afraid it looks as though Uncle Money Bags is setting up camp and drawing up his own rules, yet again...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Text To Donate!

The future is now...

This morning I took 30 seconds out of my day to donate $10 to Red Cross International Relief for Haiti. Just text HAITI to 90999. $10 is charged to your phone bill. (Don't worry- this is legit.)

Oh, and while we're on the topic of Haiti, check out the article, Haiti and America's Historic Debt on!

I can't imagine what it's like over there right now. I can just hope that they are getting the help they so desperately need.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Forever Young

Last night, I attended a wake for my Great Aunt Helen, who passed away at the ripe age of ninety-five. She was one of my grandfather's SEVEN sisters. (That's right...I said SEVEN. One boy, seven girls. The man had the patience of a saint.) Aunt Helen was a sharp little firecracker right up til the end and she was a wonderful, hilarious, strong and incredibly loving woman. In the 1990's, My aunt lost two of her four children within a few years of each other- one in a tragic car accident and the other to cancer. Not long after, her husband, my Uncle Jerry, suffered a stroke. She became his nurse and cared for him 'til he passed away. The amazing thing about my Aunt Helen was that despite the amount of loss she endured in such a short period of time, she was still one of the funniest and most positive people I knew. She made everyone feel special and loved, she stayed "with it" and kept up with the times, even mastering Wii Bowling recently. She often greeted us with, "Come give your beautiful aunt a kiss!" Her laughter was contagious and her heart stayed young. She was someone soooo worth knowing and completely unforgettable. I, along with our whole family and her many, many friends, will miss her very much.

Following the wake, as I channel-surfed in my parents' basement, I happened upon a documentary on PBS called Young@Heart, about a chorus of senior citizens in Massachusetts singing modern rock and R & B songs- like "Schizophrenia" by Sonic Youth and "I Feel Good" by James Brown. It was quite moving and incredibly endearing. I was moved most by their performance at a prison of Bob Dylan's "Forever Young". I sat there with tears streaming down my face and couldn't help but think of my Aunt Helen. Isn't it strange how things line up like that? She was a perfect embodiment of someone staying "forever young" right up until the end.

Check it out for yourself- "Forever Young" performed by Young@Heart

Oh, and if you have heart, I encourage you to watch this film.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Close All the Windows

Thanks to my parents' holiday generosity, I am now the proud owner of a Toshiba Mini NB205, AKA a netbook. I love it and I love them (with or without said netbook).

Anyway, seeing as this is the first
new computer of my very own, I want to make sure I go about learning everything I can about making the most of it. I'm learning so many interesting things that I didn't really think were that interesting before...

I came to learn about specific operating systems for netbooks...with systems that create less strain and operate according to the netbooks' specific structures. Blah, blah, get the point. ANYway, so I was wondering whether to take the leap into "linuxland" and download the
Jolicloud OS, and I started doing some research into Windows for comparisons. My computer came with Windows 7 Starter. I thought this seemed coolish at first. I mean, I keep hearing that Windows 7 is everything that Vista hoped it could be and it's Windows...I've never used anything BUT Windows. BUT when I was doing some
basic things on my computer (like trying to post a picture as my desktop background), I kept getting messages telling me to upgrade to the REAL Windows 7, meaning that what my computer had was just like a little commercial for or an intro to Windows 7 and if I wanted the real deal, I'd need to pay over $100.

Then I had a thought...

Why should I have to pay for this at all? Wasn't the computer's price tag enough? THERE, my friends, is the rub! Apparently, the jokes on us! (Isn't it always, though?) I was completely unaware of all the Microsoft shenanigans that have been going on for years. Just typing in "Windows 7" to google brought me to the Windows 7 Sins site. Here are a few blurbs:

Monopoly behavior: Nearly every computer purchased has Windows pre-installed -- but not by choice. Microsoft dictates requirements to hardware vendors, who will not offer PCs without Windows installed on them, despite many people asking for them. Even computers available with other operating systems like GNU/Linux pre-installed often had Windows on them first.

Lock-in: Microsoft regularly attempts to force updates on its users, by removing support for older versions of Windows and Office, and by inflating hardware requirements. For many people, this means having to throw away working computers just because they don't meet the unnecessary requirements for the new Windows versions.

Abusing standards: Microsoft has attempted to block free standardization of document formats, because standards like OpenDocument Format would threaten the control they have now over users via proprietary Word formats. They have engaged in underhanded behavior, including bribing officials, in an attempt to stop such efforts.

Some other finds...

From Slashdot (2007)- "After trying to bribe a local supplier with a $400,000 marketing contract, Microsoft has still apparently lost out in trying to woo Nigeria's government to use Windows over Linux. Microsoft threw the money at the supplier after it chose Mandriva Linux for 17,000 laptops for school children across Nigeria. The supplier took the bait and agreed to wipe Mandriva off the machines, but now Nigeria's government has stepped in to stop the dirty deal."

From ZDnet (2002), Microsoft's Lobbying Efforts Eclipse Enron- "The software giant's budget for its Political Action Committee (PAC) increased from about $16,000 in 1995 to $1.6 million in 2000, according to Edward Roeder, a self-styled expert on efforts to influence the U.S. government, and founder of Sunshine Press Services, a news agency devoted to investigating money in politics."

And GET THIS! According to IT PRO, Microsoft put Windows 7 on new computers and that gave the owners a chance to get used to and play with the new OS, BUT on June 1st, 2010, that is going to expire, which means it's time to upgrade to the "real deal". Oh, and THAT'S not all...on March 1st, 2010...

“'The RC will expire on June 1, 2010. Starting on March 1, 2010, your PC will begin shutting down every two hours. Windows will notify you two weeks before the bi-hourly shutdowns start. To avoid interruption, you’ll need to install a non-expired version of Windows before March 1, 2010. You’ll also need to install the programs and data that you want to use.'”

And there's more where all that came from. So, here's my point...this is yet ANOTHER example of a corporate power repeatedly behaving unethically, creating a monopoly, while we all just sit here, none the wiser, and partake. First off, by now we all need to honestly acknowledge that the mainstream media is crap and it won't report this kind of information that we could benefit from knowing. So that's the first step- doing the investigating ourselves. I found all this out in a matter of minutes while browsing the web. And secondly, once finding this out, we need to actively oppose it. Choosing to use a linux OS breaks free of the restraint that is happily put upon us. I know that could seem kind of silly, but it's about the bigger picture. Some of the most basic things in our daily lives have a nasty trail behind them. Like how Coca-Cola is america's sweetheart soda, but it robs communities of natural resources and union leaders in Columbia have turned up dead at the hands of this corporate criminal. We've got to wonder, we've got to question.

SO, my little netbook is now equipped with the Jolicloud OS and I'm loving it. I think I've closed a window(s) and opened a new door here...I have now entered the land of Linux. So far, so good.